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Robert J. McCarthy

Robert McCarthy joined The Buffalo News in 1982 and has been political reporter since 1992. A native of Schenectady, he graduated from St. Bonaventure University.


The Buffalo Fire Department is investigating the cause of a fire that damaged an Old First Ward home Saturday evening. Officials said a blaze broke out in the rear of 171 Alabama St. shortly before 7 p.m. The fire in the two-story occupied residence was quickly extinguished, but not before causing $50,000 in damage. The Red Cross was summoned to provide emergency ass…

Buffalo

Buffalo police have made two arrests in connection with an overnight shooting that injured a pair of men, including an off-duty police officer. The incident occurred in the 1200 block of Broadway just before 3:30 a.m., detectives said. The two victims, a Buffalo police officer who is 29 and a male companion from Buffalo who is 28, were taken by ambulance to Erie County …

Local News

When Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo notched his ninth Western New York appearance over six weeks in 2013, Buffalo Niagara Partnership President Dottie Gallagher-Cohen offered a telling observation about the area’s frequent visitor. “You’ve been here so often I almost think you should get a place here,” she quipped during an event that July. The governor appears to have no need…

Columns

This year’s primary for lieutenant governor could rank as the most fascinating election you never heard of. Wait a minute. A barn-burning contest for the second spot? Make an exception for the Democratic matchup between incumbent Kathy Hochul and challenger Jumaane Williams. That’s because Williams, a New York City councilman from Brooklyn, enters the race backed by …

Buffalo

On the rare occasions he dips into his campaign account for political donations, Niagara Council Member David Rivera will issue checks for $25 or $50 to help a fellow Democrat. So when he discovered this week his campaign had dropped a whopping $5,000 on Erie County Clerk Michael “Mickey” Kearns – a Democrat running as a Republican – he was flabbergasted at not only the…

Erie County

Erie County Comptroller Stefan I. Mychajliw Jr. is furiously ratcheting up his fundraising efforts in a sign he is preparing to challenge Democratic incumbent Mark C. Poloncarz for county executive next year. New campaign finance reports filed with the state Board of Elections indicate the Republican's coffers have shot from a depleted account in 2017 to more than $100,…

Columns

Sometime this weekend, Erik Bohen and his inner circle will gather around a South Buffalo kitchen table and make a crucial decision. The rookie assemblyman, sent to Albany by 142nd District voters in an April special election, must determine a rather fundamental question: Democrat or Republican? Simple stuff for most politicians. For Bohen, it’s complicated. A Dem…

Obituaries

Dec. 6, 1938 – July 3, 2018 For generations of students and staff, Lawrence D. “Larry” Ford Sr. seemed to embody all that was St. Bonaventure University. Over a 32-year career in various administrative positions, Mr. Ford became a university institution not only as director of the Reilly Center or personnel director, but as friend and mentor to so many collegians who…

Local News

Former Cornell University official Tracy Mitrano appears to have won the cliffhanger Democratic primary election for the 23rd Congressional District in doubt since last week, elections officials said late Tuesday. Norman Green, Democratic elections commissioner in Chautauqua County, said totals from counts of absentee ballots are not yet available or official. But he sa…

Local News

COUDERSPORT, Pa. – John J. Rigas says he really can’t answer why he is still here. He was, after all, granted “compassionate release” in early 2016 after eight years in federal prison because doctors and officials expected that  he would soon die. But Rigas has beaten the odds. Not only has he survived, he appears a step ahead of that cold night in February 2016, whe…

Columns

Marc Panepinto appeared before a federal magistrate judge in downtown Buffalo Thursday, immediately following a guy in prison stripes accused of selling drugs. The former state senator was instructed to raise his right hand, and then asked if he swears to tell the truth. “I do,” he replied. Panepinto, 53, was under no such obligation back on March 15, 2016. That’s…

Featured

Few people recognized Jumaane Williams a few days ago as he roamed Martin Luther King Park with his latest campaign literature. But in Brooklyn, Williams is about as well-known as you can get. He represents neighborhoods like Canarsie, Flatbush and Midwood on the New York City Council. And that’s why his Democratic primary candidacy for lieutenant governor presents a ma…

Buffalo

FORT ERIE, Ont. — Peace Bridge travelers will always have to pay a toll to cross the international span — but they may not always have to stop to fork over the cash. The Peace Bridge Authority is studying the possibility of establishing a cashless toll system like the Thruway Authority recently installed downstate and at the Grand Island bridges. Though several burea…

Featured

You might call gubernatorial candidate Cynthia Nixon the second-most elated Democrat in New York State – right behind a rookie challenger named Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who upset a veteran Queens congressman in Tuesday’s primary election. You could also label Rep. Brian Higgins of Buffalo the state’s most disappointed Democrat after Tuesday’s stunner of a primary in Qu…

Local News

Elections officials will begin tabulating about 1,000 outstanding absentee ballots next week to determine the outcome of the Democratic primary for the 23rd Congressional District in which Max Della Pia leads by a scant 26 votes. Michael McCormick, Allegany County’s Democratic elections commissioner, said Board of Elections personnel in each of the district’s 11 countie…